Norway sees another record week for refugees

Norway sees another record week for refugees
Asylum seekers approaching Norway's border from Russia. Photo: Tore Meek / NTB scanpix
A record 2,452 people applied for asylum in Norway last week, setting a new record for the second week in a row, with almost half coming over the country’s northern border with Russia.
With last week's arrivals factored in, the total number of asylum seekers arriving in Norway this year is at 24,400, meaning the country is on course to this year receive three times the 11,480 people who sought asylum in 2014. 
Last week, 899 of the new arrivals came from Afghanistan, with people from the central Asian country outnumbering those fleeing the ongoing civil war in Syria for the second week running. 
“This is a serious and extraordinary situation,” Jonas Gahr Støre, leader of Norway’s Labour Party, said on Monday, during a visit to Norway’s border with Russia at Storskog.  
Carl Hagen, the former chairman of Norway’s anti-immigrant Progress Party, and others have called for the border to be closed. 
But so far, Norway’s government is not considering such measures. 
Prime minister Erna Solberg said: “The challenge of closing the border is that it does not solve any problems. The European Convention on Human Rights says that if someone asks for asylum, we should deal with their case,” she said.
“There needs to be another process for us to say, ‘You can be returned, you can not.’ There needs to be a sorting mechanism.”